ACLU releases report of Operation Rio Grande outcome

Josue Valdez Rueda Nicholas, Staff Writer

Over two years ago, Operation Rio Grande was launched to help lower and get rid of crime at a Salt Lake City neighborhood.


 Although a report recently released by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that the operation actually created damage to the community instead of helping it. 


The ten page report displays the long and short term effects of the people being affected by the operation. Even being titled “Endgame for Operation Rio Grande.”


Law enforcement is being criticized by ACLU for their two year campaign of trying to “get rid” of crime in the Rio Grande neighborhood, affecting homeless and people who live in the area, with their consistent amount of arrest and fines, even describing the operation as a “hammer” and the people being affected by the operation as “nails.”


Even though the law enforcement has seemed to slow down with their campaign and their consistent enforcement and arrest, the report states that it could still have “aftershocks.”


The report states “the impact of arrests and fines do not easily vanish from people’s list of troubles — especially those with limited resources — but reverberate, often derailing their efforts to rebuild their lives.”


So what is Operation Rio Grande? Operation Rio Grande was an operation launched on August 14, 2017 to lower crime and ensure public safety in the Rio Grande neighborhood that was near the emergency homeless shelter. 


It consisted of three phases. According the Utah.Gov phase one was to “Improve public safety & order by reducing crime rate.” Phase two was to rehabilitate the ones that were arrested that were involved in homelessness, drug addiction, etc and get them back in the streets to live as a normal citizen, and phase three was to find jobs for the rehabilitated.


The Operation was estimated to have over 1000 arrests and have an estimated two year funding of over $67 million dollars and was even deemed a success earlier this 2019 until the report was released.


Although state officials have come forward to deny the claims that the report states, and claiming that before the operation was set forth, that it was “overrun with lawlessness” and that the operation not only helped people but benefited with jobs, homes, and even ways to clear their records after their arrest.


The report released by the ACLU, is pretty much intended to show the mistakes and damage created by the operation because of how some of the arrest were made. According to the report a lot of the arrest were low level offenses, such as open container violations, jaywalking, etc. Resulting to the “offenders” being convicted of a “crime” and having a record for low level offenses.